Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin Tells Crypto Community To Grow Up, Stop Flaunting Wealth

Written by Dana Sanchez

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, 23, ranted on Twitter this week, criticizing the Ethereum community for flaunting their newfound wealth and for missing the point of how the new technology can change society and make it better.

He threatened to “leave” if they don’t stop it.

In an April 2015 blog, Buterin talked in part about what “the point” might be: trust, blockchain technology, and how we all want to “be confident that we will be able to achieve our goals without having to take the risk of someone else’s bad behavior”:

“Trust is a complicated thing,” Buterin said in his blog. “We all want, at least to some degree, to be able to live without it, and be confident that we will be able to achieve our goals without having to take the risk of someone else’s bad behavior … But economy requires cooperation, and cooperation requires dealing with people … It is always a worthwhile task to, whatever our model is, figure out how to reduce the probability that our systems will fail. Decentralization … is not prevalent in the physical world primarily because the duplication costs involved are expensive, and consensus is hard. In cryptoland, however, we get to benefit from 40 years of rapid development of low-cost computer hardware capable of executing billions of processing cycles per second in silicon – and so, it is rational to at least explore the hypothesis that the optimal tradeoffs should be different. This is in some ways the decentralized software industry’s ultimate bet – now let’s go ahead and see how far we can take it.”

Buterin laid out a three-to-four-year roadmap in November 2017 for the future of the blockchain network at Ethereum’s flagship conference, Devcon. At the heart of it is a technical change to Ethereum called “sharding,” an emphasis on scalability and solutions to cut down on the expensive storage costs that could escalate exponentially as the system expands.

He suggested that Ethereum is reaching its limits, Coindesk reported. Sharding is the likely solution — a way of partitioning data into subsets. Inspired by traditional databases, the idea is that each node will only have to store a small chunk of the total network but the underlying math will hold the system accountable. If they need it, nodes could rely on other nodes for data.

Buterin recently transferred 30,000 ETH valued at $22 million to Bitstamp, The Currency Journal reported. The move came just days after Litecoin founder Charlie Lee announced he had sold all his LTC. Buterin’s known public address shows he still has some 375,003 ETH worth almost $300 million:

“Because there is no direct indication that Buterin sold that 30,000 ETH, it is likely he transferred the funds to perhaps pay contractors with him so stating around two days before the transfer: “I just paid ~10 contractors in ETH with amounts calculated based on exchange rates from USD, SGD and TWD today.”Another possibility is that the Ethereum founder may have diversified his holdings. If indeed he has sold his ETH, it isn’t the first time he has done that because back in April 2016, he cashed out 25 percent of his ETH holdings when price was just $10. At the time he said the reason behind selling was that he needed to diversify his crypto holdings.”

Buterin threatened to leave the community — whatever that means — if the poop jokes don’t stop.

“If all that we accomplish is lambo memes and immature puns about ‘sharting,’ then I WILL leave,” Buterin tweeted on Wednesday.

In crypto jargon, lambo is short for Lamborghini, as in “a fast car that you will never have,” according to Crypto Briefing, an online resource that advocates for the safe and responsible integration of blockchain and cryptocurrency into mainstream life.

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Buterin later clarified the tweet, focusing on the definition of the word “all,” and saying that he doesn’t mean he will “stop or slow down working on crypto just because the price memes and stupid jokes exist – as long as there’s also real social value that the ecosystem is working towards.”

Buterin’s clarification triggered a volley of relieved tweets by supporters and a few who pushed him to define what he means by “social value.”

In a reply to another Twitter user, Buterin said his vision for cryptocurrency was something better than just allowing a new avenue for accumulating wealth and power:

Ethereum has seen massive gains this year, up by more than 8,500 percent since the beginning of 2017, Business Insider reported.

Buterin is known for urging for innovation mercilessly exposing weaknesses in the crypto space, Cryptovest reported. He supported a view that Bitcoin is becoming an empty shell and a failed project without innovation.

On Twitter, Buterin pinned his hopes on scaling Ethereum, as well as the possibility of moving away from proof-of-work.

Simultaneously, price growth is the main topic in the crypto space. But according to Amir Taaki, this could undo promising projects:

“For months now, Bitcoin has been stagnant when it comes to ideas of further development, the Core remaining changeless, while countless hard forks are vying for attention, pretending to solve most of the network’s problems by technical tweaks. Still, Bitcoin has kept up a high price, reaching as high as $20,000,” Cryptovest reported.

Vitalik Buterin
Vitalik Buterin. Photo: Financial Post

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About Dana Sanchez
Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubail Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.